Saudi Arabia Bond Sale Plan Said to Stall After Debt Head Leaves

Saudi Arabia Is Unlikely to Sell Planned Islamic Bond

Saudi Arabia is unlikely to sell a planned Islamic bond in the first quarter after the head of its debt management office left, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

Plans for the issue have stalled since Fahad Al Saif, responsible for the country’s international and domestic borrowing program, returned to Saudi British Bank in January after his secondment to the Finance Ministry, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.

Saudi Arabia appointed lawyers at the end of last year and met bankers to discuss the potential sale of sukuk in the first quarter to help fund its budget deficit, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time. Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan also said the kingdom was “very likely” to issue debt in the first three months, depending on market conditions.

Al-Saif helped Saudi Arabia raise $17.5 billion in the largest-ever debt sale by an emerging country in October. The kingdom has tapped the debt markets to help fill a budget gap.

The Ministry of Finance wasn’t immediately available to comment.

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